BAE Systems will produce and deliver Bofors 40 Mk4 and Bofors 57 Mk3 naval guns for the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s Type 31 general purpose frigate program. The contract includes five Bofors 57 Mk3 medium caliber guns and 10 Bofors 40 Mk4 small caliber guns. Both close-in weapon systems are designed to protect the ships against modern and future complex threats. The guns also offer the Royal Navy optimized ammunition types, including the cost-efficient programmable Bofors 3P all-target munition. The agreement, through a contract with Babcock International, will supply the Royal Navy with a set of advanced, multi-purpose gun systems for its fleet of five ships, with the first ship expected to go into service in 2027.
The Bofors 57 Mk3 naval gun is installed on various ship types around the world and is in use with the allied navies and coast guards of eight nations, including Canada, Finland, Germany, and Sweden, as well as the United States, where it is known as the Mk110 naval gun. BAE Systems has built and delivered more than 100 Bofors 57 Mk3 naval guns to customers around the world. The Bofors 40 Mk4 naval gun is the latest generation in the 40mm family, and with this contract, the Royal Navy will become its fifth operator. Both naval gun systems will be manufactured at BAE Systems’ facility in Karlskoga, Sweden, with deliveries expected to take place in 2023 and 2024.
The 6-mode programmable 40 and 57 mm Bofors 3P (Pre-fragmented, Programmable, Proximity- fused) ammunition can be programmed in six different function modes to provide optimised effect against any aerial, surface or shore target. This provides weapon systems with the highest possible combat flexibility. Each 3P fuse is automatically and individually programmed by a Proximity Fuse Programmer which continuously receives data from the Fire Control Computer System. Immediately before firing, the fuse is programmed to the selected mode. It gives forces superior handling of traditional threats such as anti-ship missiles, aircraft, ships and shore targets, including those with armour protection.
The Type 31 frigate, also formerly known as the Type 31e frigate or General Purpose Frigate (GPFF), is a planned class of frigate for the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy intended to enter service in the 2020s alongside the more capable Type 26 frigate. It is intended that the Type 31 frigate will replace some of the Type 23 frigates. It was announced on 12 September 2019 that the Arrowhead 140 design had been selected for the Type 31 Frigate. A contract was formally awarded to Babcock Group on 15 November 2019, for an average production cost of £250 million per ship and an overall program cost set to be £2 billion with £1.25 billion value to prime contractor Babcock.